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Where Kings stand in Western Conference playoff picture after win

The Kings are back on track at just the right time.

Despite injuries to Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk, Sacramento won its second consecutive game without both against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night at Golden 1 Center — and the 109-95 victory bumped them up in the Western Conference standings.

The Kings (44-31) surpassed the idle Phoenix Suns (44-31) for the No. 7 seed in the West, leapfrogging Kevin Durant and Co. in the standings since they hold the tiebreaker between the two Pacific Division teams. Sacramento possesses a better division record (10-6) than Phoenix (7-8), giving the Kings the advantage.

Kings stars De’Aaron Fox (20 points), Domantas Sabonis (22 points) and Keegan Murray (19 points) led Sacramento’s scoring charge in Tuesday’s pivotal win, but the bench stepped up in a big way with 39 total points and a defensive effort that left the Clippers without an answer.

For now, Sacramento remains in the NBA play-in tournament bracket.

And with seven Kings games left in the 2023-24 NBA regular season, it will be challenge for Sacramento to make up ground sitting one game back of the No. 6-seeded New Orleans Pelicans and No. 5 Dallas Mavericks for an outright playoff berth.

A challenge, but not impossible.

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